Santa Day Special
Santa Day Special
By: David Dzienis
Minnesota Vikings @ New Orleans Saints
Playoff football is almost here, and this Christmas special brings us a clash of two playoff hopefuls at opposite ends of the spectrum. The Saints have already clinched a playoff berth, are in contention for the number one seed, and can clinch their division with a win, a Tampa loss, or if both Tampa and New Orleans end in a tie. The Vikings on the other hand need to win out and have the Cardinals lose their remaining games, as well as have Chicago go no better than 1-1.
Both defenses are reeling after being hit by injuries in recent weeks. New Orleans is on a two-game losing streak that started with letting the upstart Eagles run all over them. They did bounce back in a small way by making Patrick Mahomes look like a normal superstar instead of the freak he usually is. Minnesota has been off kilter all year on defense and has been even worse since losing Eric Kendricks a few weeks back to a pre-game warmup injury. Realistically they haven’t been impressive even in their wins, barely scraping by the lowly Jaguars and Panthers, and actually losing to the Cowboys, prior to their current two-game losing streak.
Offensively the Saints welcomed back future Hall of Fame QB Drew Brees last week in their loss to the Chiefs. While he managed to keep the game competitive, he looked rusty. He did manage to throw 3 touchdowns but also threw a pick and under 50% completion rate. Several of those incompletions could have been interceptions had the Chiefs defenders held onto the ball. As usual, this offense looks barely functional when Michael Thomas is out and Alvin Kamara isn’t being utilized. They will have to get the talented back more touches if they hope to keep up with Minnesota’s dangerous offense.
The Vikings attack is led by NFC leading rusher Dalvin Cook. The man can explode on any given play and leads the league in finding the end zone. Astonishingly, he isn’t even the most exciting player on this squad. Rookie phenom Justin Jefferson is the top of this year's deep WR class. It certainly helps to have the always consistent Adam Thielen attracting attention, not to mention Cook forcing defenses to respect the play-action. I think this game ends up a shootout with the healthier, and more desperate, offense winning the day
Prediction: Min 35-N.O. 33
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